ECON 495S: Honors Seminar I


Reader requirements: A background in economics would be helpful. Depending on the topics the students choose for their papers, readers with experience in many different areas could work.


  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information

Instructor: Prof. Michelle Connolly

First course in two-semester honors sequence. Guided research on student-selected topics. Iterative presentations and writing assignments on current literature related to student-selected topics and of student-developed research proposals. Course requires completion of research proposal suitable for write-up as honors thesis in Economics 496S. Prerequisites: Economics 205D, 208D and 210D.

Student Writing:

What are students writing? Research papers, though their topics aren’t known yet, as students will decide on their topic during the first month of the semester.

For whom? A general audience with at least some general background in economics. Specifically students must answer a novel research question.

Where would such writing typically be found? These papers should resemble publications in academic economics journals, and some of them will likely end up being published.

Why would someone usually read it? Because they have an interest in the subject matter.


Schedule (Student – Reader Interactions):

These are the deadlines for this course as they pertain to the Duke Reader Project:

Oct. 16: Students and readers should schedule an introductory meeting for a brief get-to-know-you conversation by this date. Students should have a sense of their paper topic at this point, so please share it with your reader during this into meeting.

Nov. 17: Student should submit their final research proposal/paper to their reader by this date.

Dec 1: Reader should share feedback on final research proposal/paper with their student by this date.

Link to full Syllabus:

[ECON 495_Syllabus_Fall 2017]


Giving Feedback

Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.

The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:

  • Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More:

Questions for volunteer readers to consider when reading their student’s work:

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